Tuesday, February 12, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 12,2008) – The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak expects from the six most influential political parties in Bosnia to continue with the talks on the police reform according to obligations they took by signing the Mostar Declaration as well as on what was agreed in Sarajevo, stated the Office of the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia (OHR) Spokesperson Oleg Milisic.

Reminding that this process is fully supported by the EU, the OHR underlines that only concrete results achieved by the end of February will enable Bosnia to sing the SAA with EU.

Police Reform Work Group during the last week finalized its activities without consensus on the draft laws of new police bodies forming.

Work Group decided to send a report to the Bosnian Council of Ministers in which it will be stated that police experts did not manage to achieve consensus on the draft laws.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 12,2008) – Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric stated that it is necessary for Bosnia to fulfil all the obligations which are precondition for signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union (EU). Spiric returned from Washington, USA, from an official visit which had started on Monday.

He said, the SAA is the most important agreement for Bosnia and its future.

He emphasized that his visit to the United States has been the most useful of all and that he had an opportunity of meeting with highly influential US political figures.

Spiric told his US collocutors to support Bosnia on the way to the EU and to help the country sign SAA by the end of April.

”We have been given a general support for processes we are in, related for fulfilment of conditions for further progress to the EU and NATO”, Spiric said


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 12,2008) - The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak stated that Bosnia will not pass any haste decisions related to proclamation of Kosovo's independence.

Lajcak stated in an interview to the “Glas” Magazine that Bosnia will not feel any influence of a possible proclamation of independence of Kosovo.

Answering the question which arguments will the EU have against the genocidal Serbian creature in Bosnia RS’s independence proclamation if Kosovo is independent soon, Lajcak stated “RS has no right of doing that. No mechanical parallels are to be made between RS and Kosovo”.

Commenting the political situation in Bosnia, Lajcak stated that he does not side the annulment of the Dayton Agreement, for “Bosnia, the way it is, is a fact. A fact foreseen by the Dayton Agreement. That is the way it is going to stay until the Dayton Agreement is changed. It can be changed only the way this agreement foresees”.

Lajcak, however, admitted that constitutional changes are necessary in Bosnia.

”We are now in a situation in which Bosnia should seriously think about the steps which will lead the country to the EU integrations. In order to achieve that, an efficient constitution and state are necessary”, Lajcak stated and added that all the changes need to be a result of a political consensus.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 12,2008) - Yesterday’s session of the Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives of for the election of the Bosnian Council of Ministers was postponed due to lack of quorum, since less than 50 % members of the commission was present.

As it was stated to the press, Commission Chair Halid Genjac said that the consults with Commission members should be done for setting the new term, but due to formerly scheduled session of House of Representatives and other obligations, Commission will start the session on Friday and continue it on Saturday at the deadline expiry.

Genjac explained that according the law on the Bosnian Council of Ministers, this Commission is obliged to, within 8 days period from receiving necessary documents from the Bosnian Central Election Commission and the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA), as well as signed statements of candidates, send a recommendation to the Bosnian Parliament.

The Commission received all necessary materials on Friday, February 8 and the job has to be finished within legal time limit until Saturday, February 16.

However, even though it was announced that yesterday a sufficient number of Commission members will gather, Genjac claims that some cancelled at the last minute due to illness and some due to other travel arrangements.

Ministers and their deputies were informed about yesterday’s session and the schedule was made for half an hour for each of them. The same schedule shall be transferred for the new session, stated Genjac.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 12,2008) – The Financing and Budget Commission of the Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives supported yesterday the principles of the draft law on the Bosnian state budget for 2008.

However,representatives of the Serbians living in Bosnia were against the principles. SNSD Party delegate Lazar Prodanovic explaining his disapproval stated that during the conclusion of the draft law. One of the Bosnian Presidency members was outvoted and that suggested budget is too expanded, illegitimate and in that sense unconstitutional.

For the SNSD Party the only acceptable proposition would be one which was formerly given by the Bosnian Council of Ministers in the amount of 1.186.357.560 Bosnian Marks.

Other Commission members mostly stated that the principles of the draft law should be supported and in the second phase, through amendments make certain corrections acceptable to everyone.

The Bosnian Presidency at the end of January confirmed the draft law on the Bosnian state budget and international obligations for 2008 according which the budget would amount to 1.231.357.560 Bosnian Marks.

Prior to this, they did not adopt two former propositions delivered by the Bosnian Council of Ministers. First was 1.191.357.560 Bosnian Marks, and the second corrected draft was 1.186.357.560 Bosnian Marks.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 12,2008) – Genocide survivor Nurija Zobic, is one of the four witnesses testifying at the trial of Serbian war criminals Milorad Savic,Mirko (Spiro) Pekez and Mirko (Mico) Pekez before the Bosnian State Court.

The witness stated yesterday he immediately recognised two Serbian war criminals as being the perpetrators of a mass murder that left 23 Bosnian civilians dead in the two villages in the Jajce municipality in September 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

All three, former members of the genocidal paramilitary formations of the Serbians living in Bosnia, have been indicted by the Bosnian State Prosecutor for carrying out the attack in the Bosnian villages of Ljoljici and Carkazovici and murdering 23 Bosnian civilians.

The witness stated he recognised Serbian war criminals Mirko (Spiro) Pekez and Mirko (Mico) Pekez in the courtroom.

"When they came that day to take us out of our houses, I saw Spiro's son Mirko and, later on, Mico's son Mirko Pekez. They were dressed in camouflage uniforms and had automatic guns. My children started crying and asked me where we were going, and I told them we had to go," the witness said, adding that Serbian war criminals Mirko (Mico) Pekez and Jovo Jandric took away their jewellery and valuables in Tisovci village.

The witness said that his two sons were both 11 years old at the time, and that day was the last time he saw them, as well as his wife.

"People were screaming loudly when they brought us to the edge of a precipice and ordered us to line up facing the abyss. Jovo Jandric ordered the others to have their guns ready and then I heard shooting. Half an hour later, I woke up and noticed that I was surrounded by dead people," said Zobic, who was shot in his leg that day.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor's indictment describes Serbian war criminal Jovo Jandric as an accomplice in the mass murder of 23 Bosnian civilians.

Second Prosecution witness Borko Oparnica claims to have seen the corpses of the murdered Bosnian civilians from Ljoljici and Carkazovici in Tisovac village but added he didn't know who was behind their murder.

"I was told by my staff to visit the crime scene in Draganovac. When I arrived there, I saw grass covered with blood and corpses. I could not look at them, as I knew all these people. Later, I heard that the whole thing was initiated by Jovo Jandric," Oparnica said, adding that Fahrija Mutic told him that Milorad Savic and Mirko (Mico) Pekez had participated in the mass murder.

The trial of Serbian war criminals Milorad Savic,Mirko (Spiro) Pekez and Mirko (Mico) Pekez is due to continue before the Bosnian State Court on Friday, February 15.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 12,2008) – Serbian war criminal Milan Lukic has refused to testify at the trial of Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek before the Bosnian State Court, while Serbian war criminal Sredoje Lukic's decision is still awaited.

In his letter to the Bosnian State Court, Serbian war criminal Milan Lukic,who is currently imprisoned and awaiting trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY),has indicated that he does not want to testify as Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek's Defence witness.

Trial Chamber chairman Judge Hilmo Vucinic read yesterday Serbian war criminal Milan Lukic's letter dated January 28, in which the ICTY indictee said that, after consulting his attorney, he does not want to appear as a Prosecution or Defence witness at any trial.

Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek is charged with having participated, together with the genocidal Serbian paramilitary formation led by Milan Lukic, in commitment of a number of crimes against Bosnian civilians, including deportations, murder and rape in 1992,during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The Defence has also invited Lukic's cousin Serbian war criminal Sredoje Lukic, who is also charged by the ICTY with war crimes against Bosnian civilians, to testify. He is currently awaiting the start of his trial in The Hague. He has still not responded to the invitation, but Fahrija Karkin said that there were some indications that he might agree to testify.

Serb war criminal Milan Lukic was the leader and Serbian war criminal Sredoje Lukic was a member of a genocidal Serbian paramilitary unit, which unleashed a reign of terror, death, and destruction upon the Bosnian civilians during the 1992-1995Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

Serbian war criminals Milan and Sredoje Lukic are charged by the ICTY with multiple crimes, including murdering approximately 70 Bosnian women, children and elderly men in a house on Pionirska Street in the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad by barricading the victims in one room of the house, setting the house on fire and then firing automatic weapons at those people who tried to escape through the windows, killing most of them.

In addition, two Serbian war criminals are charged with murdering approximately 70 Bosnian women, children and elderly in a house in the village of Bikavac, near Visegrad, by forcing the victims into the house, barricading all the exits and throwing in several explosive devices.

Serbian war criminals Milan and Sredoje Lukic are also accused of troturing Bosnian civilians who were detained by the genocidal Serbian aggressor in the concentration camp at the Uzamnica military barracks in Visegrad.

Serbian war criminal Milan Lukic is separately charged with several other counts of murder, according to which he on multiple occasions led groups of Bosnian civilians to the bank of Drina river near Visegrad where he murdered them. He is also charged with brutally murdering a Bosnian woman in the Potok neighbourhood of Visegrad.

The Defence examined yesterday before the Bosnian Sate Court the convicted Serbian war criminal Mitar Vasiljevic, who is currently serving his 15-year sentence in Gratz in Austria, via video link.

The indictment against Serbian war criminal Zeljko Lelek indicates that, in spring of 1992 he and Serbian war criminals Mitar Vasiljevic, Milan Lukic and two other unnamed Serbian war criminals, murdered at least four Bosnian civilians in the Bosnian village of Sase.

Serbian war criminal Mitar Vasiljevic said he knew Lelek and he used to see him dressed in police uniform during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia. Asked by the Prosecutor during cross-examination if he went to Sase village, Vasiljevic answered affirmatively. She then asked him if it was true that he had drunk a lot at the beginning of the Serbian aggression against Bosnia, as indicated by Lelek during his testimony.

"To tell you the truth – I did drink a lot," Serbian war criminal Vasiljevic responded.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor asked him if was possible that he committed certain crimes while he was drunk, which he could not remember now.

"I do not know what to say. I did not forget. I was not in such condition that I would not know what I was doing," Serbian war criminal Mitar Vasiljevic answered.

During additional examination, Defence attorney asked Serbian war criminal if he might have participated in the murder of four Bosnian civilians, while he was drunk, but Vasiljevic explicitly denied that this was possible.

The Defence has asked for an additional three weeks to collect material evidence. The Prosecution announced that it wanted to present its material evidence and examine three new witnesses.

The next hearing is due on March 10, 2008. If Serbian war criminal Sredoje Lukic agrees to testify by then, he shall be examined via video link from the Hague prison at that hearing.

The Bosnian State Court announced that the two parties might present their closing arguments in late March or early April.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 12,2008) – The Bosnian Tax Authority started yesterday the value added tax (VAT) return process for all tax payers in Bosnia, as it was confirmed by the Bosnian Tax Authority Spokesperson Ratko Kovacevic estimating the amount to approx. 60 million Bosnian Marks.

The Bosnian Tax Authority Managing Board President Peter Nicholl unblocked the VAT return process on February 6, which was paused in the past 30 days since the designated 10 % of the account was insufficient for completion of all VAT return demands.

Kovacevic stated that the Authority received Nicholl’s decision on Friday, which ordered that 10 % will still be set aside from the total amount of gathered assets at the account of minimum reserves from which the Authority returns the money to tax payers who earned the right to VAT return.

"However, this decision gives a possibility to the Bosnian Tax Authority in case this 10 % is not enough, for the difference to be taken from the account in order to primarily execute all VAT returns and then rearrange the assets for users, state, entities and the Brcko District”, stated Kovacevic.

In accordance with Nicholl’s decision, from today there should be no more blockages in the VAT return process since the Bosnian Tax Authority has an option to perform all returns first and then divide the rest of the amount to tax users.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 12,2008) – The EU Police Mission in Bosnia (EUPM) expressed its concern with the number of juvenile delinquency crimes that happened in Sarajevo over the last several days.

“EUPM wishes to highlight police efficiency in identifying and arresting the alleged perpetrators of these crime acts,” said Brigadier General Vincenzo Coppola, Head of the EU Police Mission in Bosnia. He welcomed increased police patrolling as an immediate preventive measure, bearing in mind overall public security.

“However, intensified police patrolling is only an interim measure,” he added.

“A comprehensive strategy to suppress juvenile delinquency will provide for a long-term solution. Therefore, we encourage the Cantonal Government and other relevant institutions to avoid confrontation amongst themselves and to find a common, constructive approach to further engage in developing an action plan that would focus on the various aspects of juvenile delinquency both in a preventive and a corrective way,” Coppola said.

EUPM notes the positive public attitude towards recent repressive measures by police and calls upon all Bosnian citizens to recognise their responsibility and give their contribution to police in maintaining and strengthening public security.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 12,2008) – Illegal migration to Bosnia is decreasing, despite the fact that more and more goods and people cross the country's borders each day, according to the Bosnian Border Police’s 2007 Annual Report.

Important results were achieved regarding the discovery and prosecution of goods and drug smuggling, said Vinko Dumancic, the Director of the Bosnian Border Police, when presenting the report to the press.

"The number of uncovered cases of people smuggling has increased by 43.10 percent,” he announced. “We got 19.5 percent more reports on these crimes and 41.8 percent more persons were reported than in 2006.”

“We achievedcontinuous progress in our work throughout 2007, particularly in monitoring and controlling BiH border crossing points and airports,” he went on.

In 2007, more foreigners crossed the border from ‘high migration risk’ countries. Citizens of Serbia with UNMIK passports, as well as people from Albania, Turkey and Macedonia represent more than 96 percent of the total number of deported foreign citizens. In 73 percent of these cases, they were illegally residing in Bosnia.

The Border Police also fight crime internally: 15 police officers were suspended in 2007 - two of them after internal control investigations and 13 as a result of investigations carried out by the Bosnian Prosecutor's Office.

Besides, the BosnianmBorder Police face some other challenges, such as lack of funding to hire new qualified staff and buy specialised communications and visual monitoring equipment. Poor working conditions, run-down facilities at some border crossings and low salaries make border police officers’ work particularly difficult.

Although Dumancic said that his cooperation with border police institutions from neighbouring countries has increased since last year, he stressed that there are pressing open border issues with neighbouring countries that still need to be resolved.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 12,2008) - In the face of interest rates revisions by banks in the region, the issue is increasingly being raised whether the trend would expand to Bosnia as well. The Bosnian banks have around 10 billion Bosnian Marks in loans.

The Governer of the Bosnian Central Bank Kemal Kozaric points out that interest rates in Bosnia are lower then in the neighbouring countries – by the end of 2007, the average interest rate was 7.05 per cent on short-term loans and 8.25 per cent on the long-term ones.

Governer Kozaric’s estimate is that, given the global financial trends and dependence on interest rates in the EU, further decreases are not likely to happen.

As far the inflation in Bosnia is concerned, it is still considerably below the inflation seen by the other Southeastern European countries, which is why Kozaric does not see a reason to increase the rates, either.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (February 12,2008) - After the first month of implementation of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), the Bosnian economy ended up with a trade exchange deficit worth 216 million Bosnian Marks (BAM).

CEFTA came into force on November 22, 2007. Official statistics show that the negative trend in Bosnia’s exchange with the leading trade partners – Croatia and Serbia – continued, and even got worse in December last year.

In case of Croatia, the deficit was BAM 151.58 million and in the case of Serbia BAM 73.43 million. Trade surpluses were reported in exchange with Montenegro (BAM 8.14 million), Albania, Moldavia and Kosovo.